Thursday, January 5, 2017

January 5, 2017 would think that since I retired on 11-21-16 from full time work that I would have more time to keep up with my Blog.  Guess that is not so.  Since retiring I have been sorting out a lot of issues with regard to how I will live, healthcare and many other time consuming and mind numbing tasks.  I  have no income right now and am living off of money I had put aside for many years just for this scenario.  I still have to get my 401K issues straightened out.  So, since I have no money coming in right now, I don't get a chance to get out and do much.  I hope that changes soon.  I have done some things during the month of December despite the fact that I did get another bad cold that hit pretty hard.

I had a mad scramble on my last day of work.  I worked till noon on 11-21 my last day and due to some snafu, I had to leave at noon to get some legal paperwork done on putting one of my siblings on the deed to my house.  They had a little send off for me and it just has been so strange not to get up for work each morning and go into Oak Lawn after 38 years.  I hope I have done the right thing.  Some days I am positive about my decision and other days...well..not so much.

11-24-16 was Thanksgiving Day and I had a really nice and full day.  I got up (and still get up) very early that morning to get dressed and head to Forest Park to meet up with the Star Wars folks to head downtown to the City of Chicago Thanksgiving Day parade. 

As always, that was a lot of fun.  The weather was a little on the cold side, but not bad and there was no snow or no rain.  We were just about the last unit in the parade this year so there was a lot of standing around.

After the parade, I went to Joan's for Thanksgiving dinner.  Stef and Meryl were in from Utah and it was so nice to see them and to be able to stay later because I didn't have to get up for work the next day.  The family had a little celebration for my retirement and gave me a gift card for travel on Southwest Airlines.  We played Scrabble and had a great time just getting caught up.  I got a chance to see Stef again before she went home.  I had also put up the Christmas tree that morning.

Since retiring, I have been going out to Hickory Creek Barrens to work on the restoration site quite often.  I will go for 2-3 hours and get some work done.  It is a way to get exercise and get something accomplished with out feeling too overwhelmed.  I have started on "small tasks" that I can accomplish in a couple days and that is better than looking at the whole of what needs to be done.  We have been doing a lot of follow up on areas cut before and it is nice to get back into a lot of those areas and give them a once over.

During December, I did do a number of Star Wars events.  On 12-4-16 I did the Toy Con Charity Toy Show.  This year attendance was down by the public, but as always we had a great turn out of Star Wars costumed members.  I always feel it is our annual Christmas Party. 

Unfortunately, the snow flurries predicted for that day turned out to be a lot more than flurries and travel home during what ended up to be practically a white out was challenging.  But, again, it was great to not have to get up the next morning for work and maneuver the snow to get into Oak Lawn. 

On 12-10 I did a "double header" of events.  They were down on participants for the Toys For Tots event at Cantigny so, I put on my Imperial Gunner costume to go to that around noon.  I had also made plans to attend an event in the evening at Fermilab, so rather than go to the Toys For Tots thing early, I went later in the day and then headed straight from Cantigny to Fermilab. 

I had some time to kill in between, so I just stopped at a Dunkin Donuts on the way to Fermilab and had some coffee.

The event at Fermilab was the premier of a SW fan film I had appeared in.  The filming was back in 2008 and I thought they would never finish it.  Well, they did finish it and held a premier at Fermilab because that was where much of it was filmed.  They also asked that the few of us that were there appear in costume to greet the people coming in.  Where I had not planned to wear the costume in the evening too, I did end up putting it back on.  The movie turned out to be pretty good and had a great ending.  The scenes that I filmed were all in the final movie, so that was pretty cool. 

Unfortunately, another snowstorm hit as I was leaving Cantigny and the snow kept coming down while I was at the movie premier.  The ride home on the expressways was a real "white knuckler" as people always insist on driving like a bat out of hell even when the roads are bad.  Also, the Jeep's heater/defroster is not the greatest in the world and the wiper arms are also worn out and the ride home was pretty intense.  Things got better the closer to Will County that I got.

I have also started to make preparations for the Frozen Butts workday.  Berkots finally had port butt on sale, so I bought 3 of them and spent a lot of time last weekend preparing the pulled pork for the workday pot luck.  I also am looking over what I have to give as door prizes which will not be as good as previous years because I have no income coming in.  On Christmas Eve several of us went out to HCB to start the brush piles that will be burned for the Frozen Butts Workday.  The weather was really nice that day for this time in December.  There was still snow on the ground, but it was due to be rained away on Christmas Day.

On 12-16, Star Wars Rogue One premiered and I was signed up for a premier showing at Hollywood Blvd Theater.  It was a pretty long day into night and I was definitely not comfortable wearing the RFT costume.  The pants for the RFT are really tight in the waist and the boots are very uncomfortable so by the time my showing of the movie came about, I was just not feeling well. 

I found that I didn't like the movie very much and thought that maybe that was because I was tired and hurting.  I went to see it again on Tuesday and found that I still didn't think that much of it.  I liked it because it was Star Wars...but have to confess that I was not thrilled by the movie. 

On New Years Eve, a bunch of us restoration volunteers went out to work at Hickory Creek, LaPorte Rd Access.  The weather was beautiful.  Sunny and in the 40's by noon.  I brought a little bottle of champagne along and we all had a toast to the New Year.  On New Years Day, I also went out with Mark Bettin and we worked at HCB taking down the last of some very large honeysuckle in one area that I have wanted to get back to for a long time. 

Well, I am sure that I have forgotten a bunch of stuff, but this at least gets me a little up to date on what is going on in my life.